Know How / Soils

Expert advice on how to improve and maintain your soil health to produce top yielding crops. Find out when to analyse your soil and how to interpret the samples. Improve the structure of your soil by encouraging earthworms, introducing organic matter and assessing fertiliser needs.

Advice and tips


7 steps to successful subsoiling

Subsoiling can be effective technique to solve soil compaction problems. However, if done at the wrong time or incorrect depth, it can cause more problems than it solves. Soil compaction…


Tips on assessing the health of your soil

A healthy soil is described as a living system that helps to maintain and enhance the natural environment, which in turn makes for more productive crops. That’s a shortened version…


Advice on reducing soil erosion in arable fields

Soil erosion is a natural process that can be slow and continue virtually unnoticed or may occur at an alarming rate and involve huge amounts of soil being lost from…


How to sample soil for potato cyst nematodes

Potato cyst nematode costs the industry more than £25m each year and accurate soil testing is a critical aid in managing the pest to minimise crop losses. At low levels…

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Case studies


Award-winning grower explains strategy for top notch soils

Home-made compost combined with an extremely diverse rotation and minimal soil disturbance has the cut the inputs and agronomic management needed on Simon Cowell’s farm at Lawrence, near Southminster, Essex.…


Why soil health is top priority for Sussex estate

A decision to come out of organic farming and the need to solve a soil erosion problem on vulnerable greensand soils combined to bring a complete rethink of the arable…


Why wheat is £10/t cheaper to produce with no-till approach

No-till farmers produce wheat for £10/t less than their conventional counterparts, according to a benchmarking exercise of 12 farms in East Anglia. Accountancy expert Gary Markham says that the combination…


Why cover crops have a place on a mixed Hampshire farm

Cover cropping has earned its place in the arable rotation at Freefolk Farms in Hampshire, with stubble turnips being used ahead of spring cropping, bringing many benefits on the thin…

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How three growers hope to improve soil health in Yorkshire

A recently launched initiative aimed at improving the health of Yorkshire’s arable soils is already seeing success, with dozens of farmers growing more than 400ha of cover crops for the…


Grower with award-winning soils reveals benefits of bacteria to ...

Modern wheat varieties have been shown to be able to support colonies of nutrient-unlocking soil fungi in trials held by agronomy company ProCam. Samples of root taken from the Essex…


Slow sulphur could help growers save on fertiliser bills

A slow-release sulphur fertiliser will be available this autumn which may help growers to save money by cutting back on applications, with Britain’s number one blender being one of the…


Award-winning grower explains strategy for top notch soils

Home-made compost combined with an extremely diverse rotation and minimal soil disturbance has the cut the inputs and agronomic management needed on Simon Cowell’s farm at Lawrence, near Southminster, Essex.…

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Growers have more time to conduct worm survey

Arable growers now have until mid-November to take part in a rapid earthworm survey, designed to give farmers a heath check for their soils, after drought delayed the start of…


Crop Watch: Battling flea beetles and blackgrass

Oilseed rape crops coming under attack from flea beetle and keeping on top of blackgrass this autumn are two key issues for our agronomists this week. There are hopes the…


Record number of farmers tender for cover crop funding

A record number of farmers have bid for funding to grow cover crops over winter and help protect water quality. United Utilities’ online reverse auction allowed Cheshire farmers, who own…


Big Suffolk estate to run out of reservoir water this week

One large Suffolk Breckland estate is set to see its two reservoirs run dry this week, with the biggest effect likely to be a reduction in the yields of its…

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Test and reviews


High-tech soil scanner delivers margin boosting data

The latest sensing technology to hit British shores is providing the data required to improve soil management and target inputs more efficiently than ever before. A handful of companies have…


New tractor tyre technology offers 18% more traction

The tyre designer’s job, it seems, is never done. As tractors continue to gain power and weight to meet farmer demand for greater performance, new tyre designs are needed to…

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Video: Sugar beet drilling starts as growers play catch-up

Sugar beet drilling is racing ahead between the rain showers on light land with one Suffolk Brecklands estate looking to catch up from its latest start in more than a…


Video: The plan that battered blackgrass in 12 months

Three Cambridgeshire growers are fighting back against a heavy yield penalty imposed by blackgrass with a new establishment system and have seen a dramatic turnaround in just 12 months. Declining…


Video: How to sample your soil for analysis

The quieter winter months are a prime time to get a snapshot of the state of soils and consider any adjustments to maximise fertility and crop potential. Unlike most other…


Video: No-till wins over grower to direct-drilling

New to no-till grower Richard Boldan is driving forward his plans to convert to a reduced cultivation system for a more sustainable future, with ambitions to grow more spring crops and establish…

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